December 16, 2016

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Gov’t, ethnic armed groups to negotiate ‘inclusiveness’ hurdle to peace deal

Pu Zing Cung, (Centre), briefs media on the first day of the ninth round of talks between the Union Peace-making Work Committee and a senior delegation of ethnic armed organizations at Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon. Photo: Ye Myint
Pu Zing Cung, (Centre), briefs media on the first day of the ninth round of talks between the Union Peace-making Work Committee and a senior delegation of ethnic armed organizations at Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon. Photo: Ye Myint

Yangon, 6 Aug — Peace negotiators representing ethnic armed groups and the government resolved three pending issues on Thursday, the first day of their latest round of talks, and will discuss whether the signing of a national ceasefire accord will be “all-inclusive” on day two, both parties said.
The current round of talks, the ninth between the two sides, is aimed at finalizing the terms of the prospective peace deal.
At a press conference at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon, spokesmen for the two sides said they had reached an agreement on the three unresolved points from the previous round of talks.
Government negotiating team spokesman U Hla Maung Shwe said both parties had agreed in principle upon the signatories and local and international observers for the NCA.
“But the two sides will have to continue mediation over the inclusion of all armed groups in the signing process on the second day,” U Hla Maung Shwe said.
As proposed by the ethnic side, the President and the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services would be among the signatories of the truce deal from the government side, he added, saying there would also be three top leaders each from the ethnic armed groups in the signing process.
According to ethnic armed group spokesman Pu Zing Cung, the three points resolved at the current round related to security integration, parliamentary approval and implementation of major projects through coordination with local people and ethnic groups.
The ethnic side’s demand for a truly nationwide ceasefire through the inclusion of all ethnic armed groups, not only those that had already reached bilateral agreements with the government, remained a marked difference between the two sides, Pu Zing Cung said.
While addressing the opening of the talks Thursday morning, he said the government’s original stance on the parties to the accord needed to be adjusted.
In his address, government negotiator Union Minister U Aung Min said it was vital to “seize the moment for peace,” expressing concern over the continuing roadblock that could prevent finalizing the almost two-year-long draft negotiation process.  GNLM

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